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Saturday, October 22, 2011
October 22, 2011 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 2:45 PM :: 7619 Views :: Hawaii County News, Agriculture, Honolulu County News, Democratic Party, Hawaii State Government, Republican Party

FULL TEXT: Motion For Summary Judgment Forcing Disclosure of Abercrombie’s Judicial Nominees

New Zealand World’s Best Country to Start a Business

Hawaii: Second Highest Taxes on Earth?

Rail Building Kiewit executive Picked as Trustee of Rail-Skeptic Kamehameha Schools

Lance Wilhelm, an executive with Kiewit Building Group Inc., has been selected as a trustee of Kamehameha Schools.

Wilhelm, 46, is senior vice president and Hawaii area manager for Kiewit Building Group Inc. and has spent 23 years with the company, according to Kamehameha Schools' announcement.

As Kiewit's top executive in Hawaii, Wilhelm is overseeing construction of the first segment of the city's planned 20-mile commuter rail line. In 2009 Kiewit was awarded a $482.9 million contract to build the first 6.5 miles of the project from Kapolei to Pearl Highlands near Leeward Community College.

Wilhelm is a graduate of the University of Hawaii at Manoa, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in communications, and a 1983 graduate of Kamehameha Schools.

2009: Kamehameha Schools urges that Honolulu rail be at ground level

Nexus of KSBE Rail Concern: Kamehameha Schools Kaka 'ako Mauka Master Plan

 

read … Wilhelm

Ansaldo Pays $150K Fine for Unlicensed Rail Contracting, Fine could have been $560M

Ansaldo Honolulu JV has agreed to pay the state $150,000 to settle two pending cases which alleged that Ansaldo was not licensed when the company submitted responses to the city as part of the bidding process for the rail transit project, the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs said today.

Ansaldo later won a $1.4 billion contract to design, build, operate and maintain rail cars.

In August, DCCA's Regulated Industries Complaints Office received two complaints alleging that Ansaldo failed to obtain a contractor's license before submitting a proposal for the city's rail project. Although Ansaldo was licensed prior to submitting best and final offers and before a contract for the rail project was awarded, the company was not licensed when the bidding process initially began.

According to the Contractors License Board, a contractor's license is required to submit a bid on contracting work. Submitting a bid without a contractor's license constitutes unlicensed contracting. The fine for unlicensed contracting activity ranges from $2,500 and can run as high as 40 percent of the total contract price.

"As with similar cases RICO has handled in the past, RICO took into consideration that, in these cases, no consumers were harmed …. “ (Yeah, just taxpayers.)

CB: Ansaldo, State Reach Deal On Licensing Violation

read … Only in Hawaii

Ten Months In, Abercrombie is hated even by Democrats

Potentially more distressing for Abercrombie's allies, however, is his poor standing among Democrats. The new poll found that 43 percent of Democrats approve of the governor's job performance, down from 66 percent in March.

A Hawaii Poll taken for the Star-Advertiser and Hawaii News Now in May had Abercrombie's job approval rating at 50 percent.

Unless Abercrombie rebounds, his low rating could negatively influence Democratic campaigns next year, especially the U.S. Senate race.

Former Gov. Linda Lingle, a Republican candidate for Senate, left office last year with low job approval ratings linked mostly to state budget cuts and teacher furloughs during the recession. A Public Policy Polling survey released earlier this week showed Lingle competitive against both U.S. Rep. Mazie Hirono and former Congressman Ed Case, the Democratic contenders for Senate.

Democrats have said they would mine Lingle's record as governor for campaign issues, but portraying Lingle as an ineffective chief executive may be more difficult if voters do not see the new Democratic administration as an upgrade….

But Slom said he believes Abercrombie is also viewed negatively because of what he describes as a lack of transparency. The governor, unlike his predecessors, has declined to disclose the names of potential judicial nominees submitted by the Judicial Selection Commission. The administration was slow to acknowledge that the governor had asked for courtesy resignations from Lingle appointees to key boards and commissions. The administration also waited two months to publicly disclose that the governor declared a civil-defense emergency and suspended state environmental and land use regulations to help contain unexploded ordnance from World War II-era military training.

"I think the knock against him, that comes generally, is from the lack of transparency," Slom said, calling Abercrombie the least transparent governor since statehood.

Dante Carpenter, chairman of the Democratic Party of Hawaii, believes the governor's low job approval rating is tied to the economy.

It certainly has nothing to do with THIS: Enough for 35 Pro Bowls: Abercrombie’s $140M gift to Dante Carpenter

read … Even Democrats are Tired of Neil

Reality Trumps Ideology: Hawaii PBS to Force Homeless Encampment off Property

For the past six weeks the Institute Of Human Services tried to get the campers to move into shelters or regular housing.

"Hopefully by Monday they will be gone because they will be taking down the fence and digging up the whole area around the sidewalk over there," said Connie Mitchell of the Institute of Human Services.

Some of the homeless people said they don't know where they'll go, even though IHS said it has 40 slots available at the men’s shelter. Right now there is no room at the women's facility. The IHS has been able to help some individuals.

"Some people are just not interested," Mitchell said. And there's not much we can do about that, so they will have to find somewhere else to go because the landowner wants to make improvements."

The landowner of a second encampment is preparing to do the same. PBS Hawaii which owns the parcel across from the Hawaii convention center, said it is ready to move in Monday to replace the current fence. President and CEO Leslie Wilcox said the company was waiting on the city to sign off on a permit to begin the work. (Remember this next time some liberal whines about how inhumane we are towards the homeless.)

Read … Liberalism Meets Reality

Senator Hee escapes ethics penalties despite commission concerns

ILind: The State Ethics Commission was “troubled” by Senator Clayton Hee’s filing of inaccurate or incomplete personal financial disclosure statements over a period of five years or more, but took no further action against the windward Oahu senator.

The commission’s action is reported in an informal advisory opinion approved on August 17, 2011 and later posted on the commission’s website. The opinion does not mention Hee by name, but the description clearly applies to his situation.

Hee’s incomplete or false financial disclosures were reported here on May 21 (“Politically powerful state senator files false ethics reports“).

Larry Geller (DisappearedNews.com) later filed a complaint with the commission regarding Hee’s actions.

Geller noted Hee had amended his reports in after-the-fact compliance with the law, but questioned the lack of sanctions.

read … Hee

Ideology Trumps Reality as Hirono Denounces Iraq War one More Time

Hirono: “The cost of this war – in the nearly 4,500 lives lost and the $1 trillion that has been added to our national debt – has been tragic. Our focus must continue to be on keeping our nation safe and honoring our commitment to our returning troops and our military families. The best way to do that is for the leaders of this country to maintain a strong military that is powerful enough to deter and take action against threats, use diplomacy to achieve and keep the peace, and oppose ill-considered international military entanglements.”

Related: Ideology Yes, Hawaii No: Hirono Votes Against S. Korea Free Trade, Military Spending: In pursuit of Ideology, Hirono Votes Against 18% of Hawaii Economy

read … Out Now

Poll Claims 49% want Gay ‘Marriage’

KITV: A new poll by Public Policy Polling shows that nearly half of Hawaii voters want same-sex marriage to be legal. 49 percent are in favor of legalizing same sex marriage. 40 percent of voters want it to remain illegal. 11 percent said they are not sure. ..

77 percent support gay couples having some kind of legal recognition. Of those who support same-sex marriage or civil unions, 90 percent are Democrats, 77 percent are independents and 59% are Republicans.

Related: Neil Abercrombie is the Least Popular Governor in USA

Read … Larded with liberals

 

New Job After Five Weeks: Hawaiian Airlines names Sunshine Topping recruiting director

 

Topping, who has 15 years of experience in human resources management, stepped down last month from her post as director of Hawaii’s Department of Human Resource Development.

Prior to that, Topping served as director of human resources for Sandwich Isle Communications, and as director of human resources and ethics at NovaSol, a Hawaii-based technology company. Topping, who is from the Big Island, also previously served as a human resources manager for Boeing.

Related: Abercrombie Cabinet Member Suddenly Resigns, no announcement until Replacement Named, Epiphany leads to Mass Resignations: Abercrombie Administration Incompatible with Family Values

read … Suddenly has time to get away from her family

Shack Extortion Defendant getting out on $250k Bail

“There are multiple victims who are literally afraid for their lives,” a federal prosecutor said in court Friday, opposing the pretrial release of accused Waikiki extortionist Tory Windward.

Federal Magistrate Judge Barry Kurren overrode Asst. U.S. Attorney Tom Brady’s objections, ruling that Winward, 44, can be released to a halfway house if he posts $250,000 bond and wears a GPS device that will monitor his whereabouts.

Brady said he plans to appeal the ruling and Kurren said Winward is not likely to be released for at least two weeks because of a shortage of space in the Mahoney Hale halfway house.

read … The Shack

HPD To Wear Straw Hats, Aloha Shirts for APEC

Most unusual among the groups is the Civil Affairs Unit. Dressed in floral-print aloha wear and straw hats, the unit's officers are tasked with acting as conduits between protesters and the HPD and other government agencies.

"The civil affairs officers will interact with lawful demonstrators to make sure they are safe and that their rights are protected," said Maj. Clayton Kau, who is helping coordinate the department's APEC preparations.

First formed during the Asian Development Bank conference in 2001, the Civil Affairs Unit had been inactive since late 2010. It was reactivated in anticipation of APEC. It has also been assigned in recent months at protests held by Hyatt hotel workers and the newly formed Occupy Honolulu.

"We will be out there whenever demonstrators or protesters are out in public and meeting up with them," said Capt. Keith Lima, the unit's commander.

Beneath the aloha wear will be standard HPD gear including guns and protective vests. The officers will also sport bright-orange armbands bearing the yellow HPD shoulder patch so they are easily recognized as police.

The officers, despite their friendly appearance, will turn off their smiles if necessary, however. "If we have to make arrests, obviously we will," Lima said. "We're not going to idly stand by and watch crime take place in front of our eyes."

HNN: Hip NYPD officer's clothes grab online attention

read … Aloha

Parrots outnumber People at Kauai ‘Occupy’ Protest

A few people, less than 10, showed up for the first“Occupy” public meeting, Friday evening at the park fronting the Historic County Building.

Amidst the squawking of green parrots returning to roost, Scott Franklin Manning, co-facilitator of the group organizing the meeting, said there is a need for a public meeting place near a government facility.

“Following the Wall Street demonstrations, Derrick Ledesma helped put on the last rally in Kapa‘a,” Manning said. “Stacey Joroff and Jeff Fishman started a Facebook page.”

Manning said during a planning meeting Thursday that about 30 to 40 people planned to participate in the “occupation” of “Immigrant Park,” named for the many tributes in the park.

“We also passed out hundreds of fliers and were on the radio as well,” Manning said. “There are a lot of problems people are concerned about.”

Read … What if they call a protest and nobody shows?

Outside sources provide 17% of Honolulu’s personal income

That places Honolulu at No. 139 of 366 metropolitan areas in the nation in terms of outside income, according to the study by On Numbers, an affiliate of Pacific Business News.

Total personal income in Honolulu in 2010 was nearly $42.3 billion. Of that, 17.23 percent, nearly $7.3 billion, was derived from dividends, interest or rental income, On Numbers found.

read … On Numbers

Hawaii's Most Wanted fugitive captured

Officials say in 2005, Poouahi Jr. was only 13 years-old at the time when he was implicated of child abuse that nearly caused the death of a 10 year-old girl.

In February 2005, court documents revealed the abused victim was found on a couch on the lanai of an “Ainaloa home with a cut on her head that was “decomposing and containing maggots.”

"She also had injuries to her upper lip and other areas of her body that showed signs of decomposition.”

The victim also suffered broken bones, dehydration and malnutrition.

A District Court Affidavit indicated a doctor at Kapi’olani Medical Center for Women & Children who treated the girl told police that marks on the girl’s body suggested she had been bound, and that “she had several areas of dead tissue about her body as a result of pressure ulcering and burns that appeared to be from a cigarette and cigarette lighter. The girl spent six weeks in a coma recovering from the inflicted injuries.

Poouahi Jr. was convicted as a juvenile and housed at the Hawaii Youth Correctional Facility until he turned 19 years-old.

Poouahi Jr. was sentenced to Probation and officials say he has since violated the terms and conditions of HOPE Probation.

Officials say his arrest marks his third revocation this year.

read … Hawaii's Most Wanted fugitive captured

 

Layoffs at resort might violate law

DLIR is looking into whether the 300-acre resort -- closing indefinitely after failing to secure financing for a planned renovation -- violated Hawaii's Dislocated Workers Law, which requires employers give workers 60 days' notice of plant closings and mass layoffs or face penalties of up to $500 a day.

If the law applies to the resort owned by Canadian-based Northwynd Properties Ltd., the company would be required to pay eligible workers the difference between employees' average wages and weekly unemployment benefits, which for most full-time low-wage workers is about 62 percent of previous wages, DLIR said.

The payments would supplement unemployment benefits for a maximum of four weeks.

"At this point our focus is on the well-being of the Makaha Resort workers and their families," Dwight Takamine, DLIR director, said in a statement. "It is unclear whether or not Hawaii's Dislocated Worker Law applies to this situation, but we are in the process of ascertaining whether the department has jurisdiction in this matter."

read … Makaha

Hoopili Re-labels Greenstrips, Drainage Areas as Commercial Farms

However, some participants in the hearing expressed doubt about how much of the urban ag plan would be realized if Ho'opili is approved and built.

A representative of the Sierra Club asked Van Meter whether areas at Ho'opili proposed for commercial farming are suitable for growing crops.

Van Meter said that would need to be studied.

The Sierra Club also pointed out that Ho'opili's commercial farm areas were previously designated for open buffer space in an original plan rejected by the LUC in 2009 because the plan wasn't properly split into phases.

It was also unclear Friday how much of the new commercial farm space, which includes a strip up against the H-1 freeway, is presently farmed.

LUC member Ron Heller questioned how viable commercial farming would be in some areas of Ho'opili designated as drainage areas. Van Meter suggested that would have to be studied, as well.

read … Hoopili

Hawaii County Redistricting Puts Ford, Smart in Same Council District

A draft map produced Friday by the county Redistricting Commission puts South Kona Councilwoman Brenda Ford in the same council district as Ka'u Councilwoman Brittany Smart.

The map, created by the commission after taking six sample maps to public hearings, divides the island into two Hilo districts, two Puna districts, two Kona districts, a Kohala and Hamakua district and a sprawling Ka'u/South Kona district that wraps around the southern tip of the island from the top of the Ka'u desert to the north border of Keauhou Resort.

read … Redistricting

On Target Shooting Range to Be used by Hawaii County Police?

Richard Hoeflinger, chairman of On Target Inc., the group trying to get the firing range in place at Puuanahulu, said discussions of liability for the range are premature. However, he said, the course would be built to National Rifle Association specifications.

Following the NRA's guidelines for the range would allow On Target to be eligible to purchase insurance at a discounted rate from an insurer working with the NRA, he said.

"If you do it the NRA way, it doesn't mean you won't get sued," he said, adding it "does address issues that have been brought in before."

The NRA's guidelines are "the gold standard for building a shooting range," Hoeflinger said.

Ferreira told commissioners the department would be willing to get more information from On Target, adding that the indoor range would have limitations.

read … On Target


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